Chinese Influence in US Media Poses Threat to Free Speech: Reports

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson last week said he believes the Chinese Communist Party’s information warfare against the United States is a huge threat and it needs to be countered.

“In the world today is the information age, and we need to counter the deluge of misinformation, propaganda that’s coming at us, and this represents a huge threat to our country,” he said.

Senator Johnson joined China experts in discussing the CCP’s unrestricted warfare against the United States at a public forum hosted by the Committee on the Present Danger: China in Washington DC last week.

Of particular concern that night was the CCP’s attempt to get into Southern California’s radio market.

Phoenix TV’s recent acquisition of a Mexican radio station is a typical example of the CCP’s warfare tactics, according to the president of California-based Chinese-English language Sound of Hope Radio Network, Allen Zeng.

“On the information war, we have this battle line. Every way we look at this, there’s one gap, which is called the United States of America. We have no defense for this country. They can freely invade,” Zeng said in his speech.

Phoenix TV is under the control of the CCP and previously displayed an intent to get into Southern California’s radio market so it could influence the Chinese American community there.

The most recent attempt was in 2018. It used a shell company to acquire 690 AM radio station at the border of Mexico and Southern California. It used this tactic to try to bypass the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) regulations.

The Chinese community has filed a complaint to the FCC.

“So 690 AM covers the entire San Diego and Los Angeles area. It’s eight times (power-wise) as large as existing Chinese radio over there. So basically, once they come in, very simple: in three years, they’re going to dominate the market. They are going to wipe out all the competition,” Zeng said.

By threat or allure, Zeng said, the CCP has brought most of the Chinese-American media in line over the years. Over 95% have been under the CCP’s control, he said, giving them greater power to effectively influence the Chinese community in the United States. Zeng suggested that the Trump administration take immediate action to counter this.

“The program and operation of anti-propaganda and disinformation; part of it needs to move out of DoS and into Homeland Security. That’s a must.

“Second: for whichever Chinese media that goes to Beijing and signs a deal, gets their funding, gets their content; they need to conform to the FARA. They need to register themselves as a foreign agent. That single step is very, very powerful.

“Third: the FCC needs to have differentiating treatment of those foreign radio buyers.”

Other speakers joined Zeng at the roundtable discussion in their concern. Brian Kennedy, the Committee of Present Danger: China’s Chairman of said free speech in the United States requires stringent protections from outside interests.

“We do believe in freedom of speech, but we believe in freedom of political speech, and that’s the political speech of Americans,” Kennedy said. “We don’t extend freedom of speech to foreign governments who seek the destruction of the United States.”